radio ghost

Damn, it's late and I have work in the morning, so this will have to be brief. After a hashed job earlier in the week, scuppered by a missing part, parts in backwards and a couple of short-circuits caused by shoddy soldering, I had to go back out to electronics store and buy a new function generator kit. With some immensely improved soldering, all the parts in the right places, and many burns to my hands, I managed to assemble it and get it working. One of the LEDs isn't working, and I don't have a small enough phono jack so I'm currently using a piezo electric transducer taped to a cup and wired to the terminal block to deliver the noise, but it works, and makes a fantastic sound.

I was also able to spend more time playing with my new AM/FM transistor, having not really had the time before now. The conversation on Tuesday was pretty funny:

Housemate: What are you doing to that radio?
Me: I'm breaking it, obviously. I'm going to make a noise-maker out of it. [It would have been pointless to talk about circuit-bending, and would have just prolonged matters.]
Housemate: It already makes a noise though. [See what I mean?]
Me: Yeah, but that's shit. I want to make electronic squeals and noise.
Housemate: Right. [Possibly meaning, why?]

Anyway, having previously had no luck at all in getting anything interesting from the radio I spent a much longer time probing it today, and getting a much better feel for what I can do and how. It's curious, I wouldn't have thought it was a matter of familiarity and practice, but evidently they do play a part. So, now I have two new noise-making toys to play with in the coming weeks, and to try and slot in to my sound poetry practice. Which would be fine, but I'm also now bursting with ideas for visual poems now, going right back to basics and starting with the page. There will be something to show for this fairly shortly I think.

Wait, did I say two new noise-making toys? Not true. As previously blogged I have managed to make a couple of contact mics by soldering audio cable to piezo electric transducers. These contact mics have now been turned into vocal mics by the simple act of taping them to the bottom of plastic cups. I thought this might not work, or would only result in distortion, but the sound reproduction is not too bad actually. I will experiment with paper cups too, and with cups in different sizes, and with the transducers in different places on the cups. But I can now use these handbuilt lo-fi mics to add another element to the performance of my sound poetry. And eventually of course the aim is to incorporate bent electronics at the very least. Watch this space.

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